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26.5.11

Early baby loss.


A conversation with @multiplemummy beginning simply with talking about September being a good month for us to conceive and then how long did it take us to conceive ended up on the topic of Chemical Pregnancy.
Kerry had never heard of Chemical Pregnancies, and neither had I. Until I had one.

As I’ve said before in a recent post about baby loss its such a taboo subject. Don’t talk about it, don’t ask about it, don’t acknowledge it. But why? It happens. Is it because we simply don’t know what to say? Nothing will make it better, nothing will take away the hurt. But so many times I’ve seen mummies, and daddies, say that they just want to be asked if they are ok, they want to have a normal conversation, and in a few instances, friendships have come to an end because people don’t know how to be around the person who has suffered the loss.

This is why I never talk to friends really about my two chemical pregnancies. Not only because I simply know they do not know what to say, but because chemical pregnancies aren’t really known about its not something to easily talk about, and in cases where I have spoken about it, doesn’t seem to be recognised as baby loss.
I remember being sat in a friends lounge, another friend of hers was there also and they were discussing someone who had recently lost a baby at between 16 and 20 weeks [I can’t quite recall the exact gestation]. The girl who had sadly lost her baby had named him, something I didn’t find at all weird. Yet these two girls sat there and said “but he wasn’t even a proper baby yet, what’s the point in naming him? What a waste of a name” and other insensitive comments. I put my attention into playing with Charles and holding in the anger that was running through my body. Both of these girls had named their babies early on in their pregnancies, how was this any different?

I can understand totally that it isn’t understood or recognised as baby loss, compared to babies lost further on in pregnancy.
  
SO, WHAT IS A CHEMICAL PREGNANCY?

A chemical pregnancy is the clinical term used for a very early miscarriage. In many cases, the positive pregnancy test was achieved before the woman’s period was due but a miscarriage occurred before a heartbeat was able to be seen on an ultrasound.
With the ultra sensitive pregnancy tests on the market today, it is easier than ever to get a positive result 3 or 4 days before your period is due. It is wonderful for those who NEED to know, but does have its down side. Early testing shows chemical pregnancies which would not have been detected had the woman waited for her period to arrive.
Chemical pregnancies are unfortunately very common. 50 to 60% of first pregnancies end in miscarriage very early in pregnancy. Most occur without the woman even knowing that she was pregnant.

And, What Causes and Chemical Pregnancy?

Most chemical pregnancies are due to chromosomal problems in the developing fetus. Other possible causes are inadequate uterine lining, uterine abnormalities both congenital or acquired like fibroids, low hormone levels, luteal phase defect or certain infections.


Both of my chemical pregnancies were shortly followed [2 months later in both cases] by successful pregnancies. (Assuming that this baby arrives safely) So I never had the chance really to dwell on the loss that I’d suffered. But the truth also is, that I didn’t feel I had suffered.
In the first chemical pregnancy I had gone as far as taking a test, positive, followed by another faint line. We called family, all over the moon and even popped over to my dads to celebrate.
A few days later I tested again and got a negative test and a couple of days later my period turned up.
We were confused and just assumed we’d got 2 false positives.
After researching online we’d realised that it was down to a chemical pregnancy.
We then had to inform our families that I actually wasn’t pregnant and felt slightly embarrassed by it really.
We had a holiday coming up so it took our minds off the disappointment that it had gone wrong.
Thankfully on that holiday we conceived and 9 months later Charles was with us. But telling our families again that we’d conceived was met by some with “oh right” and a lack of enthusiasm. Especially from my dad and when I confronted him about it he was honest and said that we’d already told us we were pregnant and he had to get used to not being a granddad and didn’t want to get his hopes up (please don’t be taken in by this, he’s not as sweet as he sounds)

Last year I felt extreme pains in my stomach, I didn’t know how to explain them to my husband, when I first felt them we were in the car and when I got home I realised I was bleeding. My period wasn’t due just then so it was a surprise.
We put it down to my cycles still getting into a routine and thought that maybe the fact I was breastfeeding still was messing things up. We went away for the weekend to Warwickshire for Charles’ naming ceremony and I was still bleeding.
I spoke to my mother in law and my husbands aunty about it because I was concerned, not only was it heavy bleeding but it was lasting a long time, and one of them mentioned miscarriage and it made sense.
Returning home I phoned my doctors surgery and got an appointment. Blood tests were taken but nothing came back abnormal so my hormone levels were ok, but the female doctor I saw confirmed that she thought it was a chemical pregnancy also.
She suggested keeping an eye on my cycles for 2/3 months and then booking a smear, I hadn’t been able to have a smear before this time due to not being old enough [25] . I agreed and left feeling a little weird and deflated.
I’d always said that if I could only have one child then fine, so be it, I had convinced myself almost that I wouldn’t be lucky enough to be able to have another child as [to me] Charles is so perfect, and this feeling remained, yet I also had a feeling of disappointment that this had happened and that I wasn’t able to hold onto this baby.
It was very early days this time though, early enough that I hadn’t even tested or yet missed a period.

Then two months later came the day I would test, and two lines show up. I was scared this time, I didn’t want to go through another chemical pregnancy, or loss of any kind.
All throughout my pregnancy with Charles I appreciated everyday my body kept him alive. And this time I am exactly the same, if not more appreciative, simply because now I know exactly what I would miss, the newborn crying [yes I would miss that] the milky cuddles, the silly o clock wake ups and everything else we do tend to take for granted and let pass us by.
I say thank you every night, and every morning that I’d go through the day and the night with an active and healthy baby inside me.

The two chemical pregnancies I “suffered” are in my mind, but not something I think about too often. There was a reason these both happened. And I have comfort in knowing [thinking] that my body was able to tell this and sort the “problems” out sooner rather than later.
It’s so easy to think our bodies have failed us by not grabbing hold of that baby and doing what it can to make sure everything is perfect. But I trust my body and know it didn’t fail me or fail the baby.
It did the best it could and made the right decision.